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Cecil B. De Mille introduces 'The Fallbrook Story'

Cecil B. De Mille introduces ‘The Fallbrook Story’

June 19, 1952: Cecil B. De Mille, left, works on his introduction to the documentary film “The Fallbrook Story.” Charles M. Peters, producer of documentary, is in the center and Walter Bach is on camera.

“The Fallbrook Story” told the story of a water rights battle between the federal government and Fallbrook residents over the Santa Margarita River.

This photo by staff photographer Paul Calvert accompanied a story by Ed Ainsworth in the June 23, 1952, Los Angeles Times reporting:

Cecil B. De Mille agreed yesterday to introduce, on the screen, “The Fallbrook Story,” the color motion picture depicting the struggle of 14,000 San Diego County farmers against federal seizure of their water rights.

The film is being produced as a public service by Charles M. Peters of Beverly Hills, one of the leading members of the Los Angeles Cinema Club.

Premiere of “The Fallbrook Story” will take place Saturday, June 28, in the Fallbrook High School Auditorium.

De Mille will be the first figure seen when the film is flashed on the screen.

Seated at his famous desk loaded with trophies, the most celebrated of Hollywood producers starts out with the well-known words: “This is Cecil B. De Mille –––.”

He then describes the “American document” as portrayed in “The Fallbrook Story.”

During the filming of the sequence in which he appears, De Mille proved to be a perfect subject. He solicited criticisms during trial runs of the narration. Then good-humoredly and patiently he went through four separate “takes.” …

Both director Peters and Walter Bach of Berndt-Bach, Inc., who is handling the latest color-sound 16 mm camera, commented that De Mille, the veteran, was much more patient and co-operative than many younger and less distinguished actors.

The De Mille introductory sequence rounds out appearances of a number of notables in the film itself. These include Lt. Gov. Goodwin J. Knight, Assembly Speaker Sam Collins of California, and U.S. Representatives Clair Engle, Norris Poulson, Sam Yorty, John Saylor and numerous others….

The water rights battle in Fallbrook was extensively covered by the Los Angeles Times. Federal officials — trying to obtain exclusive water rights to the Santa Margarita River for nearby Camp Pendleton — backed down.

The 16 millimeter camera used by Water Bach in the image above may be the same camera in this YouTube video: Walter Bach demonstrates Auricon Pro 1200, poolside, Hollywood, early 1950s.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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1 Comment

  1. February 20, 2015, 9:05 am

    My father was GI Joe, in this movie, an some of it was shot at our home on Gumtree Lane.
    It was very exciting to me as an eleven year old child.

    By: Judyahrend@gmail.com

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